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Senate names Westrom chairman of ag, rural development and housing finance committee


In advance of the state legislature's return to session on Jan.8, Sen. Torrey Westrom , R-Elbow Lake, has been reappointed chairman of the Minnesota Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development and Housing Finance, a news release from Westrom's office said. Westrom has served as chairman of the committee since early 2017. Additionally, his committee has been assigned the responsibility of overseeing funding for rural broadband expansion in Minnesota.

"As someone who grew up on a farm and lived in Greater Minnesota my entire life, I know how important a strong agricultural economy is for our state and local communities," Westrom said in the release. "Whether it's crops, livestock, food processing, or other types of value-added agriculture, it is important that we keep our taxes low and find ways to streamline any regulations that hinder our farmers and agricultural manufacturers. Strong agriculture is strong Greater Minnesota development."

New to Westrom's committee this session is oversight on rural broadband. Westrom said in the release that he has long been a proponent of rural broadband expansion, authoring multiple bills that funded projects to expand broadband access in Greater Minnesota.

"From health care to education, broadband access is essential to our way of life in the twenty-first century," Westrom said in the release. . "I consistently hear from rural residents and small business owners that a lack of broadband limits their ability to flourish in Greater Minnesota. We need to continue to address that problem and I look forward to spearheading that effort this upcoming session."